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Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga As Christian Spiritual Practice [Paperback]

By Thomas Ryan (Author), Elizabeth Pascal (Illustrator) & Jean Vanier (Foreword by)
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Item description for Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga As Christian Spiritual Practice by Thomas Ryan, Elizabeth Pascal & Jean Vanier...

A practical "how-to" guide for persons who want to learn how to meditate or practice yoga in a way that is consistent with their Christian faith.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Paulist Press
Pages   319
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.5" Height: 8"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2004
Publisher   Paulist Press
Edition  Revised  
ISBN  080914056X  
ISBN13  9780809140565  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of Oct 24, 2016 11:14.
Usually ships within one to two business days from Roseburg, OR.
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More About Thomas Ryan, Elizabeth Pascal & Jean Vanier

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ryan leads ecumenical retreats and parish missions in the United States, Canada, and Europe. He directs the Paulist North American Office for Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations based in New York City.

Thomas Ryan currently resides in New York City, in the state of New York.

Thomas Ryan has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Active Prayer
  2. Bible in Medieval Tradition
  3. Meditation and Yoga as Christian Spiritual Practice
  4. Mystic Poets Series
  5. Preparing to Practice

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > Exercise & Fitness > Yoga
2Books > Subjects > Health, Mind & Body > General
4Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > General
5Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Spirituality > Meditations

Christian Product Categories
Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Roman Catholic

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Reviews - What do customers think about Prayer of Heart and Body: Meditation and Yoga As Christian Spiritual Practice?

Meditation is for Christians  Jun 13, 2008
When I tell believers that I am a Christian who meditates they either get excited and interested or a puzzled look comes on their face. Unfortunately, we have been led to believe that Christianity and meditation don't complement each other. Yet, the Bible is filled with scriptures that not only encourage but admonish us to meditate on God. I am thankful for Father Ryan's book that helps to take the mystery out of Christian meditation so that believers can embrace a practice that can truly change their lives. Christian Meditation and Relaxation Four Cd Set
Great Book!  Apr 19, 2008
I am new to Christianity (I was baptized a little over a year ago) and wasn't sure how to incorporate yoga and meditation into my prayer life. This book was very helpful. I'm interested in reading other books from this author.
Prayer of Heart and Body  Feb 24, 2007
Fr. Ryan and written an excellent introduction to the contemplative life for Christians who know little about it. His style is easy to read as he presents some fairly deep topics. I particularly appreciated his abbreviated history of meditation in various religious disciplines. I found his presentation of yoga as a valid part of the meditative process very sane and doable for the novice. I highly recommend this book for anyone or any group wanting to explore what the contemplative life is all about.
Not really Christian meditation  Jan 9, 2007
I'm not sure what Thomas Ryan, in Prayer of Heart and Body, is saying about whether the Cross and Resurrection of Jesus Christ are necessary for our salvation. The internal logic of his statements seems to contradict a Christian theology:

1) On page 22, apparently from his own voice and his own conviction, he states, "Most of us don't realize this Spirit within because we are living in a fallen, illusory state of sin."

2) Later, on page 33, he says, also apparently in his own voice, "There is no getting around the fact that Christianity is a religion for those who are aware that there is a deep wound, a fissure of sin that strikes down to the very heart of our being. It is a spiritual path for those who have tasted the sickness that is present in the inmost human heart estranged from God by guilt, suspicion and self-seeking. If that sickness is an illusion, then there is no need for the cross, the church, and the sacraments."

3) On page 113, in his conclusion for Part I of the book, he seems to take the position that the Cross is not necessary when he states, "There are many different ways of meditating taught in the religions of the world. But if one wishes to go deep, it is important to choose one's path and be faithful to it. Many Christians have found it necessary until recently to seek life-giving disciplines for their journey from teachers in other faiths because they did not find them in their life in the church. As I have tried to expose in these pages, Christian faith offers its own [here non-Christian readers might infer "superfluous and unnecessary"] deep well of contemplative experience and counsel. We are blessed to live in an age where the full richness of it is being recovered and widely shared [but just what richness that may be is impossible to say, since Ryan implies there is apparently no life in the church without the meditation styles of Eastern non-Christian religions]."

Another problem I see with Ryan's teaching is his obvious emphasis on technique in this book. The Catholic Church warns against the reliance on techniques, per se, in Christian meditation:
From Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of Christian Meditation, by Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, October 15, 1989:
"23. Without doubt, a Christian needs certain periods of retreat into solitude to be recollected and, in God's presence, rediscover his path. Nevertheless, given his character as a creature, and as a creature who knows that only in grace is he secure, his method of getting closer to God is not based on any technique in the strict sense of the word. That would contradict the spirit of childhood called for by the Gospel. Genuine Christian mysticism has nothing to do with technique: it is always a gift of God, and the one who benefits from it know himself to be unworthy."
One last note of caution from the same document just quoted above:
"28. Some physical exercises automatically produce a feeling of quiet and relaxation, pleasing sensations, perhaps even phenomena of light and of warmth, which resemble spiritual well-being. To take such feelings for the authentic consolations of the Holy Spirit would be a totally erroneous way of conceiving the spiritual life. Giving them a symbolic significance typical of the mystical experience, when the moral condition of the person concerned does not correspond to such an experience, would represent a kind of mental schizophrenia which could also lead to psychic disturbance and, at times, to moral deviations." My own and my family's indescribably painful experience bears out the truth of this warning. ________________________________________________________________________

The Catechism of the Catholic Church has a large section on prayer, highly recommended by Carmelite Fr. Thomas Dubay.

Also relevant: the recent Vatican document on the New Age: Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life

Very Intriguing  Jan 3, 2007
3 Types of people need to read this book:

1) Christians who are just beginning (or thinking about beginning) a yoga practice; especially if they have ever worried that practicing yoga was somehow practicing Hinduism.

2) Yoga practitioners who either don't take time for meditation, or who have trouble focusing during meditation

3) People who are looking to enhance their prayer life.

Ryan does a great job of addressing the concerns that many in the Christian Church feel towards Yoga and other Eastern spiritual practices in addition to giving detailed guidelines for using meditation as a part of your prayer life. His writing is intelligent and direct- there is no "Christian-ease." Rather than spouting his own opinions about meditation, he quotes heavily from the teachings of Thomas Merton and John of the Cross, among others. Definitely worth reading.

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